From the office of Sen. Joe Manchin:
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, D-WV, today praised the passage of a $19.1 billion disaster relief package to help Americans and West Virginians recover from recent hurricanes, flooding, and other natural disasters.
The package includes a provision Senator Manchin championed that would release $106 million owed to West Virginia for mitigation and resilience activities through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) program. This funding was approved by Congress and President Trump in February 2018, but it has been mired in bureaucratic red tape and Administrative reviews.
“I am so glad that finally the disaster relief package has passed so we can get these much needed resources to the people of West Virginia and other areas of the country that have been hit by horrible natural disasters. In my state, we have been waiting more than a year to receive this funding to help rebuild in the aftermath of terrible flooding. I have been working hard with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to get this passed and I applaud my colleagues on the Senate Appropriations Committee and President Trump for finally reaching a deal and bringing it to the Senate floor,” said Senator Manchin.
During testimony before the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee Hearing on April 3, 2019, HUD Secretary Ben Carson pledged that the funds would be released to the impacted states and territories by May 1, 2019. Unfortunately, despite that commitment, no funding has been released to date. On May 9th, Senator Manchin introduced the Bipartisan Disaster Recovery Funding Act (S. 1415)with Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Kamala Harris (D-CA) to require the release of $16 billion in long-awaited disaster relief funding, including the $106 million still owed to West Virginia. On May 14th, Senator Manchin spoke with Mr. Russell Vought, Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and urged him to release these funds in a timely and expeditious manner. Mr. Vought could not provide a timeline for the release of these funds, making legislation the only viable path forward.
The bill also includes:
- $3.25 Billion for the Army Corps of Engineers to repair damaged infrastructure and reduce the risk of future floods and hurricanes.
- $3.17 Billion to rebuild our military bases and coast guard facilities.
- $3.005 Billion to support our farmers as they recover from crop and livestock losses.
- $2.431 Billion for Community Development Block Grants to help our communities rebuild and mitigate future disaster.
- $1.65 Billion to rebuild disaster damaged highways.
- $720 Million for the U.S. Forest Service for wildland fire activities.
- $600 Million in Economic Development Assistance Programs to help communities rebuild and revamp their economy.
- $349.4 Million for State Revolving Funds to help rebuild damaged water systems; and
- $128 Million for the National Park Service to repair damaged public lands.
- $605 Million for the Nutrition Assistance Program for Puerto Rico.
- $304 Million from Community Development Block Grants to help it meet FEMA match requirements for Puerto Rico.
- A provision ensuring more damaged facilities in Puerto Rico will be repaired or replaced, and built with better standards and more resilient than before. `